iPhone SE vs. 11 Pro: Latest budget phone compared with the king of Apple’s lineup

The iPhone 11 Pro is undoubtedly the king of Apple’s iPhone range thanks to its three rear cameras, all-day battery life and high-resolution OLED screen. But it has a high price tag that starts at $ 999 (£ 1,049, AU $ 1,749). With so many new iPhones, including the $ 699 iPhone 11 and the $ 399 iPhone SEYou may be wondering which one to choose. I wanted to compare Apple’s flagship with the budget iPhone to see what difference $ 600 made.

If you want top-of-the-line iPhone (and it fits your budget), you probably won’t even consider iPhone SE. But as I found out after using both the 11 Pro and SE for a few weeks, I don’t feel like I missed all of that when I switched to the cheaper iPhone.

Continue reading: How the iPhone SE for $ 399 is compared to the iPhone 11 for $ 699

Angela Lang / CNET

While the iPhone SE looks like an older iPhone, don’t be fooled. Together with the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, it offers great performance and a very powerful camera for an entry-level price of $ 399. The battery doesn’t last as long as the more expensive phone, but Apple has made some smart compromises to keep the price down. Read our review of the Apple iPhone SE (2020).

Angela Lang / CNET

With a slim stainless steel housing, excellent battery life and a high-resolution OLED display, the iPhone 11 Pro deserves the “Pro” label. It is the most robust iPhone you can buy and has three rear cameras that give you flexibility from Ultrawide to Tele. There’s also the option to increase the screen size from 5.8 inches to 6.5 if you choose the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and you’ll also get a larger 512 GB storage option at the top end, while the iPhone SE 256 GB reached. Read our Apple iPhone 11 Pro review.

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New iPhone SE (2020) compared to iPhone 11 Pro


The iPhone SE is the most compact, while the 11 Pro is extremely durable

With a 4.7-inch screen, the iPhone SE has the same overall design as that iPhone 8. That means the home button is back! Or it never went away when you upgrade from something like the iPhone 6 or 7. The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch screen and has the newer iPhone design without a home button.


Lexy Savvides / CNET

The iPhone SE has an aluminum frame, while the iPhone 11 Pro is made of stainless steel. All Apple phones have special glass from Corning on the front and back. Apple claims the iPhone 11 Pro has the toughest glass of them all. I dropped the iPhone 11 Pro countless times (both in ours formal drop test and if it has been used in the past six months) and it has not suffered any significant damage.

Nevertheless, I recommend putting a case on your phone for security reasons, since not all drops are the same. We haven’t done a durability test for the iPhone SE yet, but would expect it behave similarly to the iPhone 8 provided it’s the same design. (The iPhone 8 suffered a cracked screen when dropped five feet away.)

Both phones also offer water resistance, albeit to a slightly different degree: the iPhone SE has IP67 protection, which means that it can reach a maximum depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, while the iPhone 11 Pro has IP68 or 4 meters protection Time. But in mine extreme water testI found the iPhone 11 Pro survived much deeper water than Apple claimsTherefore, I would not be surprised if the iPhone SE would also survive its rating. Regardless, the water damage for both phones is not covered by the warranty. So don’t go crazy trying to test the limits of your phone (let me do that!).

Winner: The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro is just right for me, although the iPhone SE is easier for one-handed use.

The iPhone 11 Pro has this beautiful OLED display

The iPhone SE has an LCD display for fluid retinas, while the 11 Pro has an OLED Super Retina XDR display. There’s no question that the 11 Pro’s screen looks great thanks to a contrast ratio of 2,000,000: 1 and HDR support. OLED technology can produce deeper black levels than the LCD of the iPhone SE.

Still, I wasn’t disappointed when I switched to iPhone SE. The colors look accurate and the screen is easy to read in bright outside light. In my eyes, watching a movie on the iPhone 11 Pro looked better because the screen was physically bigger.

Winner: It’s hard to compete with the iPhone 11 Pro’s OLED display.

Touch ID vs. Face ID: home button or face recognition?

After using the new iPhone SE for several weeks, I count myself among the many people who prefer to use a fingerprint to unlock their phone. Face recognition is solid, but has limitations, although it responds more quickly over time. Touch ID just works better for me in many situations. Face ID struggles to recognize me first thing in the morning after I roll out of bed – maybe I look drastically different in the morning, but honestly I don’t think I do. (It is also not compatible with face masks.) Switching to iPhone SE and unlocking my phone using my fingerprint always works.

On the iPhone SE, you sacrifice screen space to accommodate the home button, and I’ve noticed the bezels on the SE a lot compared to the iPhone 11 Pro’s almost borderless screen (although there is a notch for TrueDepth camera).

Winner: iPhone SE for seamless Touch ID.

The iPhone 11 Pro has three rear cameras, but do you need them?

The iPhone 11 Pro has three rear cameras: ultra wide-angle, wide-angle and 2x telephoto. The iPhone SE has a single wide rear view camera. But as I noticed when looking at photos of both side by side, the difference wasn’t as dramatic as I expected.

The main cameras on both phones use Smart HDR to balance shadows and highlight details. The iPhone 11 Pro produced images with wider dynamic range in difficult lighting conditions, but for some shots it was difficult to distinguish them in terms of color and overall processing. The iPhone 11 Pro has Apple’s Deep Fusion processing, which can be used to take sharper pictures in medium light conditions (think indoors). Read more about it how deep fusion works in Patrick Holland’s great explainer.

You can see the difference that Deep Fusion makes when you look at the same photo on the SE and 11 Pro at full magnification – see the photo of the orchid below.


Check out the 100% crop (insert) that shows the effect of Deep Fusion on the iPhone 11 Pro compared to the iPhone SE without Deep Fusion.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

Of course, thanks to its ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, the iPhone 11 Pro offers more flexibility when compiling your pictures. I love the ultra wide perspective and it’s the biggest thing I miss when using the iPhone SE.

Thanks to this camera on the iPhone 11 Pro, you get more flexibility with selfies, e.g. For example, when creating animoji and memoji that mimic your facial expressions and when filming in 4K.

The biggest difference between these two cameras is night mode – the iPhone 11 Pro has it, the iPhone SE doesn’t. Photos of the 11 Pro look much better in low-light conditions than photos taken with the SE because night mode illuminates the scene and provides a clearer, brighter shot. Look forward to my full camera comparison between these two phones, which will also cover video recording and selfie cameras shortly.

Winner: iPhone 11 Pro if you want different cameras and night mode.

The A13 Bionic chip makes both iPhones incredibly fast

It’s no secret that these phones use the same processor. Therefore, I didn’t see any significant differences in performance when I used both side by side. I did a couple of benchmarks on both phones and the results were scarce, and the 11 Pro prevailed on Geekbench for multicore performance.

In the real world, both apps loaded quickly and had no noticeable delay in trimming a 4K video. In fact, the cheaper SE was a hair faster in my anecdotal test.

Apple does not announce official battery capacity for any of its phones, but we do know that the iPhone SE has a battery similar to the iPhone 8. The iPhone 11 Pro has a higher capacity battery than the cheaper phone. (Unofficial cancellations from third-party providers revealed that the 11 Pro has a 3,046 mAh battery and the 11 per max 3,969mAh.)

There is no question that battery life differs significantly in daily use. The 11 Pro easily got me through one day, sometimes up to a day and a half of fairly heavy use, while the iPhone SE lasted a whole day with less use. When I watched videos or used the camera a lot, I reached for the iPhone SE charger to last a whole day. Both phones also support wireless charging and quick charging, but only the iPhone 11 Pro comes with an 18-watt quick charger.

Winner: The overall performance feels like a draw, but the iPhone 11 Pro is a leader in battery life.

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Olivia Wilde

Passionate Blogger, Web Developer, Search Engine Optimizer, Online Marketer and Advertiser. Passionate about SEOs and Digital Marketing. Helping Bloggers to learn "How to Blog".

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